An Avaaz Stunt in front of the FIFA General Meeting at the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland, May 28, 2015. (Gian Vaitl/AP Images for Avaaz)
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"It will blow over" tends to be Qatar's unofficial response to criticism of its World Cup bid, but with a FIFA corruption scandal exploding onto the world's front pages, the Gulf state has glumly realized it may have a real fight on its hands.Now Qatar must work even harder to protect its brand after U.S. prosecutors charged nine international football officials with corruption and Swiss authorities announced their own investigation into the award of the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.Others blame countries sore at losing hosting rights to Qatar.Former Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani told America's Fox News Sunday that attention was on Qatar rather than Russia, which hosts the 2018 cup.Ben Sturner, chief executive of U.S. sports marketing company Lever Agency, said it would be "tough" for Qatar to restore that image. Qatar must be transparent about its dealings involving the cup, he said.Qatari and Nepali officials denied the report.Qatar says bin Hammam played no official or unofficial role in Qatar's 2022 bid committee.
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